September 29, 2017: Behind NAMMCO – Halvard P. Johansen, Norway
The people behind NAMMCO:
Seventeen years of dedication and involvement with NAMMCO – former Assistant Director General of the Ministry of Fisheries in Norway, Halvard P. Johansen:
I started my career as a marine resources manager in the Ministry of Fisheries in 1992, the year NAMMCO was established, and I was involved in NAMMCO matters almost from the beginning. Most of my years in the Ministry I was the Norwegian member of the NAMMCO Council. I was twice elected chair of the Council, and I also chaired the Management Committee.
In the early years of NAMMCO we faced a lot of practical challenges, for instance that Norway was not hosting many Intergovernmental Organisations. Consequently, it took some time and energy to negotiate a reasonable host nation agreement.
A funny coincidence during my first period as Chair of the Council was that the Chair of the Scientific Committee came from the same island in Vesterålen as I did. Therefore, it was at the time tempting to rename the organisation The Vesterålen NAMMCO.
I took considerable interest in developing a hunting regime covering both coastal whaling and aboriginal whaling as well as seal hunting. Extraordinary work was done, and it included also inspection and observation. The work that was done by our scientists and experts show what is possible to achieve if an organisation has a common aim for its work. It was a remarkable achievement.
It was a privilege to serve an organisation composed of members heavily dependent on sustainable use of marine resources. I hope NAMMCO also in the future will serve its members well and be an example for other organisations in the rational use of marine resources.